Tuesday, 10 December 2013

That young Lord Mayor

Posted on December 4, 2011 by stephennicholl There has been much heat generated by the actions of the Sinn Fein Lord Mayor of Belfast’s decision to avoid presenting a Duke of Edinburgh award to a young female army cadet. Within the intense anger at his clearly juvenile decision it seems to have passed the notice of many commentators that here was a leading representative of the republican movement presenting an award established by the husband of Her Majesty The Queen himself a former active member, now honorary member, of the same military establishment which gave young Niall O Donnghaile the heebeegeebee’s when confronted by a 15 year old girl in uniform. What the incident does illustrate is that the relationships between our communities still need to be built on and the glaring omission in the Peace Process in the absence of any East West process will leave an unwanted legacy for years to come. While Unionists have been ferried up and down the road to Dublin to ensure that 30% of the Peace III budget is spent in the south their activities have mostly involved learning aspects of their history that were sadly neglected in a school system too frightened to take on the difficult issues during the years of community conflict. Nationalists on the other hand have not been required to engage with their fellow UK citizens in Liverpool, Birmingham or London. There have been no trips to the Imperial War Museum, the Tower of London or the Palace of Westminster for community represenatives from the Falls or Crossmaglen. The Lord Mayor’s actions were those of a young man who hasn’t yet realised the conflict is over. Like many young republicans he won’t understand unless he is told and unless republicans sign up to understanding the United Kingdom in which they live.

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